Apple Closing Down Internal Slack Channels Where Employees Debate Remote Work
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Cult of Mac:
Apple is closing down internal Slack channels to stop employees discussing remote working options, reports Zoe Schiffer from The Verge. Many Cupertino employees are currently engaged in a Cold War of sorts with their employer over the remote working arrangement coming out of the coronavirus pandemic. As the arguments flare up among staff, Apple has taken the step of shuttering the Slack channels where these are taking place. "Apple recently began cracking down on Slack channels that aren't directly related to work," Schiffer wrote on Twitter. "The company bans channels 'for activities and hobbies' that aren't directly related to projects or part of official employee groups -- but this wasn't always enforced, employees say."
Two public letters from Apple employees have requested more flexible working conditions. A recent petition this month was shared on Apple's internal Slack channel, with more than 6,000 members discussing remote work. It noted that: "We continue to be concerned that this one-size-fits-all solution is causing many of our colleagues to question their future at Apple. With COVID-19 numbers rising again around the world, vaccines proving less effective against the delta variant, and the long-term effects of infection not well understood, it is too early to force those with concerns to come back to the office." According to Schiffer, "internally, [many] people feel like [Apple] isn't listening to their demands." She continues that: "Since Friday, three Apple employees have resigned specifically because of the remote work policies. One had been at the company for nearly 13 years. I've seen a bunch of these resignation notes and they're pretty heart wrenching."
'World's Most Powerful Tidal Turbine' Starts To Export Power To the Grid
A tidal turbine weighing 680 metric tons and dubbed "the world's most powerful" has
started grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, an archipelago located north of mainland Scotland. CNBC reports:
In an announcement Wednesday, Scottish engineering firm Orbital Marine Power explained how its 2 megawatt O2 turbine had been anchored in a body of water called the Fall of Warness, with a subsea cable linking it to a local electricity network on land. It's expected that the turbine, which is 74 meters long, will "operate in the waters off Orkney for the next 15 years," the company said, and have "the capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of around 2,000 UK homes."
The turbine is also set to send power to a land-based electrolyzer that will generate so-called green hydrogen. In a statement, Orbital Marine Power's CEO, Andrew Scott, described Wednesday's news as "a major milestone for the O2." Funding for the O2's construction has come from public lenders via Abundance Investment. The Scottish government has also provided Â£3.4 million (around $4.72 million) of support through its Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund. Looking to the future, Orbital Marine Power said it was "setting its sights" on the commercialization of its tech via the deployment of multi-megawatt arrays.
Facebook Warns Growth To 'Decelerate Significantly', Mandates Vaccine For US Staff
Facebook said on Wednseday it expects revenue growth to "decelerate significantly." It also announced that it would
require anyone working at its U.S. offices to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Google
announced a similar policy earlier this morning. Reuters reports:
The warning overshadowed the company's beat on Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue, bolstered by increased advertising spending as businesses build their digital presence to cater to consumers spending more time and money online. Facebook said it expects Apple's recent update to its iOS operating system to impact its ability to target ads and therefore ad revenue in the third quarter. The iPhone maker's privacy changes make it harder for apps to track users and restrict advertisers from accessing valuable data for targeting ads.
Monthly active users came in at 2.90 billion, up 7% from the same period last year but missing analyst expectations of 2.92 billion and marking the slowest growth rate in at least three years, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. "The user growth slowdown is notable and highlights the engagement challenges as the world opens up. But importantly, Facebook is the most exposed to Apple's privacy changes, and it looks like it is starting to have an impact to the outlook beginning in 3Q," said Ygal Arounian, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. Brian Wieser, GroupM's global president of business intelligence, said all social media companies would see slower growth in the second half of the year and that it would take more concrete warnings about activity in June and July for anyone to anticipate a "meaningful deceleration."
Dell Is Cancelling Alienware Gaming PC Shipments To Several US States
davide marney writes:
Orders for Alienware Aurora R12 and R10 gaming PC configurations placed in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington will not be honored because of power consumption regulations, reports PC Gamer. "Any orders placed that are bound for those states will be canceled," Dell states in a message.
"The Aurora R12 and R10 are built around the latest generation processors from Intel and AMD, the former featuring 11th Gen Core Rocket Lake CPUs and the latter wielding Ryzen 5000 series chips based on Zen 3," reports PC Gamer. "Unfortunately for both Dell and buyers who reside in affected states, the majority of Aurora R12 and R10 configurations consume more power than local regulations allow. There are exceptions, though [depending on the configuration you select]."
Microsoft: Component Shortages Not Going Away Any Time Soon
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet:
In reporting its Q4 FY21 earnings, Microsoft disclosed that both its Surface and Windows revenues were affected negatively by supply-chain constraints. While remote work has continued to fuel PC demand, Microsoft and its OEM partners have had problems getting enough components, including chips, power cords and other electronic components that are required for new PCs. In Q4, Microsoft's Surface revenue fell 20 percent, to $1.38 billion in the quarter. The year-ago quarter comparison was tough because Surface and other Windows PCs saw lots of demand as people needed to buy PCs to enable them to work from home. Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood told analysts on the earnings call that Microsoft anticipated that Surface revenues would continue to fall next quarter due to supply-chain constraints.
Supply-chain pressures also will continue to impact Microsoft's Xbox gaming consoles and PCs made by its partners, company officials conceded. Hood told analysts to expect Windows OEM revenues in Q1 FY22 to decline mid to high single digits and Surface revenue to decline by low teens. The Q4 numbers released today had Windows OEM Pro revenues down two percent compared to the year-ago quarter and non-Pro (consumer) OEM growth off by four percent. Supply-chain constraints don't seem to be impacting how quickly Microsoft can continue to build out its cloud footprint, however. Hood and other officials expect Microsoft to continue to grow its commercial cloud businesses, including Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365. Azure was up 51 percent (from some undisclosed base number) for the quarter and Dynamics 365 was up 49 percent from some undisclosed base -- its third consecutive quarter of growth.
Google Delays Return To Office, Mandates Vaccines
postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened. The Associated Press reports:
The announcement Wednesday came as the more highly contagious delta variant is driving a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. In an email sent to Google's more than 130,000 employees worldwide, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning Oct. 18 instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1. The decision also affects tens of thousands of contractors who Google intends to continue to pay while access to its campuses remains limited. "This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it," Pichai wrote.
And Pichai disclosed that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have to be vaccinated. The requirement will be first imposed at Google's Mountain View, California, headquarters and other U.S. offices, before being extended to the more than 40 other countries where the Google operates. Google's vaccine mandate will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulations of each location, Pichai wrote, and exceptions will be made for medical and other "protected" reasons. "Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead," Pichai explained.
YouTube Channel 'Tech Support Scams' Taken Offline By Tech Support Scam
The Tech Support Scams YouTube channel, operated by host and creator Jim Browning, was deleted after a tech support scam
convinced Browning that the only way to secure his account was to delete it. The Register reports:
"So to prove that anyone can be scammed," Browning announced via Twitter following the attack, "I was convinced to delete my YouTube channel because I was convinced I was talking [to YouTube] support. I never lost control of the channel, but the sneaky s**t managed to get me to delete the channel. Hope to recover soon." To fool Browning, the ruse must have been convincing: "I track down the people who scam others on the Internet," he writes on his Patreon page. "This is usually those 'tech support' call frauds using phone calls or pop-ups. I explain what I do by guiding others in how to recognize a scam and, more importantly, how to turn the tables on scammers by tracking them down."
Browning has made a name for himself with self-described "scam baiting" videos, in which he sets up honeypot systems and pretends to fall for scams in which supposed support staffers need remote access to fix a problem or remove a virus -- in reality scouring the hard drive for sensitive files or planting malware of their own. "I am hoping that YouTube Support can recover the situation by 29th July," Browning wrote in a Patreon update, "and I can get the channel back, but they've not promised anything as yet. I just hope it is recoverable."
Whether Browning is able to recover the account, and the 3.28 million subscribers he had gathered over his career as a scam-baiter, he's hoping to turn his misfortune into another lesson. "I will make a video on how all of this went down," he pledged, "but suffice to say, it was pretty convincing until the very end."
What That Google Drive 'Security Update' Message Means
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica:
A security update will be applied to Drive," Google's weird new email reads. If you visit drive.google.com, you'll also see a message saying, "On September 13, 2021, a security update will be applied to some of your files." You can even see a list of the affected files, which have all gotten an unspecified "security update." So what is this all about? Google is changing the way content sharing works on Drive. Drive files have two sharing options: a single-person allow list (where you share a Google Doc with specific Google accounts) and a "get link" option (where anyone with the link can access the file). The "get link" option works the same way as unlisted YouTube videos -- it's not really private but, theoretically, not quite public, either, since the link needs to be publicized somewhere. The secret sharing links are really just security through obscurity, and it turns out the links are actually guessable.
Google knew about the problem of guessable secret links for a while and changed the way link generation works back in 2017 (presumably for Drive, too?). Of course, that doesn't affect links you've shared in the past, and soon Google is going to require your old links to change, which can break them. Google's new link scheme adds a "resourcekey" to the end of any shared Drive links, making them harder to guess. So a link that used to look like "https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxI1YpjkbX0OZ0prTHYyQ1U2djQ/" will now look like "https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxI1YpjkbX0OZ0prTHYyQ1U2djQ/view?resourcekey=0-OsOHHiQFk1QEw6vIyh8v_w." The resource key makes it harder to guess. If you head to drive.google.com/drive/update-drives in a browser, you should be able to see a list of your impacted files, and if you mouse over them you'll see a button on the right to remove or apply the security update. "Applied" means the resourcekey will be required after September 13, 2021, and will (mostly) break the old link, while "removed" means the resourcekey isn't required and any links out there should keep working. YouTube is also making similar changes. "In 2017, we rolled out an update to the system that generates new YouTube Unlisted links, which included security enhancements that make the links for your Unlisted videos even harder for someone to discover if you haven't shared the link with them," says YouTube in a
can decide to opt out of this change. They also have the option of making Unlisted pre-2017 videos public or re-uploading as a new Unlisted video at the expense of stats.
Pfizer Data Suggest Third Dose of Covid-19 Vaccine 'Strongly' Boosts Protection Against Delta Variant
A third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine
can "strongly" boost protection against the Delta variant -- beyond the protection afforded by the standard two doses, suggests new data released by Pfizer on Wednesday. From a report:
The data posted online suggest that antibody levels against the Delta variant in people ages 18 to 55 who receive a third dose of vaccine are greater than fivefold than following a second dose. Among people ages 65 to 85, the Pfizer data suggest that antibody levels against the Delta variant after receiving a third dose of vaccine are greater than 11-fold than following a second dose.
The data, which included 23 people, have not yet been peer-reviewed or published. During a company earnings call on Wednesday morning, Dr. Mikael Dolsten, who leads worldwide research, development and medical for Pfizer, called the new data on a third dose of vaccine "encouraging." "Receiving a third dose more than six months after vaccination, when protection may be beginning to wane, was estimated to potentially boost the neutralizing antibody titers in participants in this study to up to 100 times higher post-dose three compared to pre-dose three," Dolsten said in prepared remarks. "These preliminary data are very encouraging as Delta continues to spread." The data also show that antibody levels are much higher against the original coronavirus variant and the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa, after a third dose.
Sony Has Sold 10 Million PS5 Consoles
The PlayStation 5 just crossed a significant milestone. Sony has revealed that it has
sold 10 million PS5 consoles as of July 18th, eight months after the system's November 12th debut. From a report:
The company considered that no mean feat between the pandemic and ongoing chip shortages that reportedly held sales back. It's now Sony's fastest-selling console to date, outpacing the PS4 by nearly a month. Sales have slowed down since launch. Sony racked up 4.5 million PS5 sales in 2020, but sold 3.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 -- it took another four months to add 2.2 million to the tally. That's not surprising between supply constraints and the usual mid-year slump, but you might not see sales climb until the holidays. PlayStation chief Jim Ryan told GamesIndustry.biz in an interview that it was "too early to tell" which markets were the hottest given widespread demand, but pointed out that China was a pleasant surprise. The company sold out its PS5 launch stock "very, very quickly" despite a local market focused on mobile games and the free-to-play model.
Israel Begins Investigation Into NSO Group Spyware Abuse
Israeli government officials visited the offices of the hacking company NSO Group on Wednesday
to investigate allegations that the firm's spyware has been used to target activists, politicians, business executives, and journalists, the country's Ministry of Defense said in a statement today. From a report:
An investigation published last week by 17 global media organizations, claims that phone numbers belonging to notable figures have been targeted by Pegasus, the notorious spyware that is NSO's best-selling product. The Israeli Ministry of Defense did not specify which government agencies were involved in the investigation, but Israeli media previously reported that the Foreign Ministry, Justice Ministry, Mossad, and Military Intelligence were also looking into the company following the publication of the Pegasus Project. NSO Group CEO Shalev Hulio confirmed to MIT Technology Review that the visit had taken place, but continued the company's denials that the list published by reporters was linked to Pegasus.
"That's true," he said. "I believe it's very good that they are checking, since we know the truth and we know that the list never existed and is not related to NSO." The reports focused largely on the successful hacking of 37 smartphones of business leaders, journalists, and human rights activists. But they also pointed to a leaked list of over 50,000 more phone numbers of interest in countries that are reportedly clients of NSO Group. The company has repeatedly denied the reporting. At this point, both the source of and meaning of the list remain unclear, but numerous phones on the list were hacked according to technical analysis by Amnesty International's Security Lab. When asked if the government's investigation process will continue, Hulio said he hopes it will be ongoing. "We want them to check everything and make sure that the allegations are wrong," he added.
Walmart To Sell Its E-commerce Technologies To Other Retailers
Walmart's investments in software and retail technologies it used to transform its business from a brick-and-mortar to one that combines both in-person and online shopping will
now be made available to other retailers for the first time, the company announced today. From a report:
Through a strategic partnership with Adobe, Walmart will integrate access to Walmart's Marketplace, as well as its various online and in-store fulfillment and pickup technologies, into the Adobe Commerce Platform. The technologies will be made available to both Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source customers, Adobe says.
The deal will allow Walmart to potentially reach thousands of small to mid-sized retailers, who will effectively be able to tap into the same tools that one of the largest global retailers is using to run their business. Through the partnership, Adobe retail customers will be able to do things like show store pickup eligibility and available pickup times online; offer multiple pickup options like curbside and in-store pickup; provide their store associates with mobile tools to pick for orders, validate item selections and handle substitutions; and use tools to communicate with customers about their pickup orders, like those where customers can alert store associates of their ETA or arrival for curbside pickup. Another aspect of the partnership will allow retailers to syndicate and sell their products across Walmart's Marketplace.
White House Calls on America's Most Critical Companies To Improve Cyber Defenses
The White House is signaling to U.S. critical infrastructure companies, such as energy providers that they must
improve their cyber defenses because additional potential regulation is on the horizon. From a report:
U.S. President Joseph Biden signed a national security memorandum on Wednesday, launching a new public-private initiative that creates "performance controls" for cybersecurity at America's most critical companies, including water treatment and electrical power plants. The recommendations are voluntary in nature, but the administration hopes it will cause companies to improve their cybersecurity ahead of other policy efforts, said a senior administration official. The announcement comes after multiple high profile cyberattacks this year crippled American companies and government agencies, including a ransomware incident which disrupted gasoline supplies. "These are the thresholds that we expect responsible owners and operators to go," said the official. "The absence of mandated cybersecurity requirements for critical infrastructure is what in many ways has brought us to the level of vulnerability that we have today."
Fast Internet Everywhere Could Add $160 Billion To US Economy
The U.S. economy stands to
gain $160 billion a year in extra output from a successful national high-speed internet plan that would boost labor productivity and allow more people to work from home, according to new research. From a report:
The study, which is based on survey data, attempts to put precise numbers on one of the bigger unknowns in President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan: how much is universal broadband really worth?
"Moving to high-quality, fully reliable home internet service for all Americans would raise earnings-weighted labor productivity by an estimated 1.1% in the coming years," economists Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom and Steven Davis wrote in a paper released July 27. "The implied output gains are $160 billion per year," equivalent to about 0.7% of gross domestic product. The study's authors describe an "abrupt, enormous" shift to remote work as a result of the pandemic, which they expect to settle with about 20% of the U.S. labor force persistently working from home. The share could be higher for so-called knowledge workers whose jobs are mostly done on computer networks anyway.
Thousands of Scientists Warn Climate Tipping Points 'Imminent'
Thousands of scientists have
repeated calls for urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, warning that several tipping points are now imminent. From a report:
The researchers, part of a group of more than 14,000 scientists who have signed on to an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency, said in an article published in the journal BioScience on Wednesday that governments had consistently failed to address "the overexploitation of the Earth," which they described as the root cause of the crisis. Since a similar assessment in 2019, they noted an "unprecedented surge" in climate-related disasters, including flooding in South America and Southeast Asia, record-shattering heatwaves and wildfires in Australia and the US, and devastating cyclones in Africa and South Asia.
For the study, scientists relied on "vital signs" to measure the health of the planet, including deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, glacier thickness and sea-ice extent and deforestation. Out of 31 signs, they found that 18 hit record highs or lows. For example, despite a dip in pollution linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, levels of atmospheric CO2 and methane hit all-time highs in 2021. Greenland and Antarctica recently showed all-time low levels of ice mass and glaciers are melting 31-percent faster than they did just 15 years ago, the authors said. Ocean heat and global sea levels set new records since 2019, and the annual loss rate of the Brazilian Amazon reached a 12-year high in 2020. Echoing previous research, the researchers said forest degradation linked to fire, drought and logging was causing parts of the Brazilian Amazon to now act as a source of carbon, rather than absorb the gas from the atmosphere.
US Senators Urge Barring Huawei, ZTE From $1.9 Trillion Govt Funding Measure
Two U.S. senators on Wednesday said they are introducing a measure to prohibit funds in a $1.9 trillion government funding measure from
being used to purchase Chinese telecommunications equipment from Huawei and ZTE and others deemed U.S. security threats. From a report:
Senators Tom Cotton, a Republican, and Mark Warner, a Democrat, said the funds that were approved in March in a law known as the American Rescue Plan should not be used to potentially undermine U.S. telecommunications networks.
France Issues Moratorium on Prion Research After Fatal Brain Disease Strikes Two Lab Workers
Five public research institutions in France have
imposed a 3-month moratorium on the study of prions -- a class of misfolding, infectious proteins that cause fatal brain diseases -- after a retired lab worker who handled prions in the past was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the most common prion disease in humans. From a report:
An investigation is underway to find out whether the patient, who worked at a lab run by the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE), contracted the disease on the job. If so, it would be the second such case in France in the past few years. In June 2019, an INRAE lab worker named Emilie Jaumain died at age 33, 10 years after pricking her thumb during an experiment with prion-infected mice. Her family is now suing INRAE for manslaughter and endangering life; her illness had already led to tightened safety measures at French prion labs.
States Say They Will Appeal the Dismissal of Their Facebook Antitrust Suit
More than 40 state attorneys general on Wednesday said they planned to
appeal the dismissal of their antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, setting up a protracted legal fight to rein in the power of the Silicon Valley giant. From a report:
The states would be pushing back on a decision made last month by a federal judge who eviscerated their arguments that Facebook had obtained a monopoly through its acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 and had harmed competition. The judge said that the regulators' attempts to break up the social media company came too many years after the mergers were approved. "The court is aware of no case, and plaintiffs provide none, where such a long delay in seeking such a consequential remedy has been countenanced in a case brought by a plaintiff other than the federal government," the judge, James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said.
The state attorneys general have 90 days from the date of the notice to file their appeal, including their arguments. Mr. Boasberg also dismissed a similar complaint brought by the Federal Trade Commission, criticizing the agency's claims of monopolization, but he directed the agency to rewrite its lawsuit. The F.T.C. is expected to resubmit its lawsuit to the court by Aug. 19. The states' notice of plan to appeal did not include new antitrust arguments and was filed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
China Targets Mobile Pop-Ups in Latest Tech Crackdown
China ordered Tencent Holdings and 13 other developers to
rectify problems related to pop-ups within their apps, adding to a wide-ranging crackdown on the country's tech sector. From a report:
The companies must address the "harassing" pop-up windows, which could contain misleading information or divert users away from the apps, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement on Wednesday. The 14 services, including an e-books app by Tencent's QQ and a video platform by Le.com, will have to fix the problems by Aug. 3. "Failure to abide by regulations" will not be tolerated and will be "penalized" accordingly, said the ministry.
Pop-ups, often used for advertising, are just the latest targets in a series of government crackdowns that have ranged from antitrust to data security, as Beijing seeks to rein in the tech giants' influence over most of everyday life. The crackdown has stepped into high gear in recent days after regulators announced their toughest-ever curbs on the online education sector and issued edicts governing food delivery, fueling a rout in Chinese tech stocks. The statement by MIIT comes days after the regulator announced a six-month crackdown on illegal online activities. The ministry on Monday said it will take steps to root out violations involving pop-ups, data collection and storage as well as the blocking of external links. Other regulators including the Cyberspace Administration of China have also pledged to tighten restrictions on misleading and explicit content used for marketing purposes. The watchdog said such material will be subject to harsher oversight, issuing fines against companies like Tencent, Kuaishou Technology and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. for offensive content.
Apple Tells Leaker To Snitch On Sources Or It Will Report Them To the Police
Apple is escalating its war against leakers, sending out cease and desist letters, according to
a copy of a letter obtained by Motherboard. An anonymous reader writes:
The letter was sent by Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. In the letter, Apple asked the seller to stop acquiring, advertising, and selling leaked Apple devices, and requested a list of anyone who provided them with the leaked devices. In other words, Apple wants the reseller to say who gave them the devices. Finally, the company requested the seller to sign a document promising to comply with the request within 14 days of receiving the letter. "You have disclosed without authorization a large amount of information related to Apple's unreleased and rumored products, which has constituted a deliberate infringement of Apple's trade secrets," the letter read.
WoW Will Remove 'Inappropriate References' Following California Lawsuit
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget:
The official World of Warcraft Twitter account has announced that it will take immediate action to "remove references that are not appropriate for [its] world." While it didn't elaborate on what those references are, they may pertain to in-game elements connected to its senior creative director Alex Afrasiabi, as Kotaku has noted. Afrasiabi was singled out in the lawsuit filed by California authorities accusing Activision Blizzard of fostering a "frat boy" culture that's become a "breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women."
According to the lawsuit, Afrasiabi is known for hitting on and touching female employees inappropriately in plain view of other male employees who would try to intervene and stop him. He apparently has such a notorious reputation within the company that his suite was nicknamed the "Crosby Suite after alleged rapist Bill Crosby."(The lawsuit has misspelled Bill Cosby's name.) In addition, executives allegedly knew about his behavior but "took no effective remedial measures." Blizzard President J. Allen Brack talked to him a few times, the lawsuit reads, but gave Afiasiabi a slap on the wrist for the incidents. In response to the lawsuit and the company's "abhorrent and insulting" response to the accusations, some 800+ Activision Blizzard employees are
staging a walkout on Wednesday, July 28th.
You can read the full message from the Warcraft team
'Programming Is Hard' Considered Harmful
The commonly held belief that programming is inherently hard lacks sufficient evidence," begins CS Prof Brett Becker in [an article published in the journal Communications of the ACM]. "Stating this belief can send influential messages that can have serious unintended consequences including inequitable practices. [...] Language is a powerful tool. Stating that programming is hard should raise several questions but rarely does. Why does it seem routinely acceptable -- arguably fashionable -- to make such a general and definitive statement? Why are these statements often not accompanied by supporting evidence? What is the empirical evidence that programming, broadly speaking, is inherently hard, or harder than possible analogs such as calculus in mathematics? Even if that evidence exists, what does it mean in practice? In what contexts does it hold? To whom does it, and does it not, apply?"
Becker concludes: "Blanket messages that 'programming is hard' seem outdated, unproductive, and likely unhelpful at best. At worst they could be truly harmful. We need to stop blaming programming for being hard and focus on making programming more accessible and enjoyable, for everyone.
Astronaut Watches Russian Space Station Module Fall From Space In Fiery Demise
On Monday, astronauts said goodbye to a cornerstone of the International Space Station and
captured stunning images of the compartment burning up in Earth's atmosphere. Space.com reports:
A Russian Progress cargo vehicle towed the module, called Pirs, away from the space station and down through Earth's atmosphere to ensure the module burned up completely and reduce the odds of any large chunks making it to Earth's surface. Russia had launched its Pirs module in 2001; since then, the module, which served as a port to the space station, hosted more than 70 different capsules and supported Russian cosmonauts conducting extravehicular activities, or spacewalks. To make room for Russia's new science module, dubbed Nauka, which launched on July 21 and will arrive at the station on Thursday (July 29), Pirs had to go. Yesterday's fiery retirement ceremony marks the first time a major component of the International Space Station has been discarded. The attached Progress vehicle, which had arrived at the space station in February, controlled Pirs' re-entry to ensure that the module was destroyed as thoroughly as possible. European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet shared the photographs